Thursday, September 23, 2010

More Apocalypse World (Sex Moves)

Each of the characters also has a special move that kicks in when they have sex with someone. For most of the characters, the special sex moves apply when they have sex with another player’s character, not with oh just anybody, but for a few of them, oh just anybody will do.
- Apocalypse World

Apocalypse World is that kind of game. For me, it's kind of a head-scratcher. I mean when I think of post-apocalyptic gaming, sex doesn't immediately come to mind. But then I guess that the game is really about the complicated relationships between characters, so adding sex moves kicks the relationship aspect up to a level that I haven't seen in any other game (except possibly Vampire, but that game dressed it all up in the vampire metaphor thing).

But again... sex moves? Is this something most groups would be comfortable with? Think about it. Let's say you are playing Apocalypse World with your regular group of friends or acquaintances and you want to employ one of these sex moves because you want to take advantage of cool mechanical benefits or because it's on your playsheet and you think that's what characters in Apocalypse World are supposed to do. Or because you're really getting into you character and hell, it's on your sheet so why not? Now imagine the role-playing involved to set this up. Yeah, potentially awkward seems like an understatement.

Not that there isn't a place for sex in games. It's just that in my experience, this is usually between player characters and non-player characters and even then, usually with a lots of vagueness and "fade-to-black" stage directions.

We play Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Our long-running series is all about the relationships between player characters. So yeah, sex gets alluded to quite a bit. Mostly, as I mentioned before, it's mostly between player characters and non-player characters. Many of the characters have the "Tragic Love" disadvantage, after all.  It's Director's job to make sure sure that disadvantage carries weight. But sex between player characters? For the first time in my long history in the hobby, two player characters in our group (Sam the Slayer and her boyfriend Drew) do end up having sex and eventually (after a long courtship) get married. The sex part was artfully planned by the players of these characters after many sessions had made it clear that was where things were headed. Even still, the actual sex-part happened off screen and was only alluded to.

Where am I going with all this? Mostly, I was just floored to see a "sex move" mechanic is an otherwise awesome post-apocalyptic game. And I do mean awesome. And by "otherwise" I don't mean that the sex thing detracts from the game. It's just surprising and a tad off-putting. Anyway, I'll put this issue aside and take a look at other aspects of the game that seem cool, interesting, and potentially useful.

Image from Apocalypse World by Vincent Baker.

5 comments:

Dungeonmum said...

Yeah I know what you mean. Most sex in RPGs tends to be with NPCs. My PCs are usually female and there are a lot of odd moments when they have to seduce/flirt with a creepy NPC for info and that involves pillowtalk with the DM (voyeuristic when it's a partner, downright uncomfortable when it's his brother). That's bad enough, let alone with another player!

Christian said...

I almost want to play this, just so I can hear, "Oh heck no. There's NO way you're pulling a sex move on me, Chuck. I'm going to pull a sex move on YOU, pal!"

Good times....

Nero said...

If you're into that I've got a copy of Big Breasts, Small Waist on disk somewheres.....

Jarrah said...

There's no reason why it can't all be off-screen in AW as much as any other game, really. Mechanically speaking, I suspect it's mostly there as an incentive to act "in-genre" (even if the writers idea of the specific genre of the game is different from others'). In the Hacks section of the AW forum I seem to remember a thread about replacing Sex Moves with other things, depending on what sort of setting the Hack was set in.

Risus Monkey said...

@Jarrah: I totally agree with you. Just sayin' I found the inclusion of sex moves to be rather surprising. I'm *really* lovin' AW and have visions of genre-specific hacks racing around my brain.